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tv   Conversation with Omarosa Manigault  CSPAN  September 2, 2017 1:16pm-1:47pm EDT

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is doing a series of interviews with president trump's cabinet secretaries and advisers. here is our talk with omarosa manigault is communications director for the white house. she discusses her role, and her time, working for the clinton-gore white house, and how it differs from working in the white house today. >> omarosa manigault, let me begin with your name. what is the etymology? omarosa: my name is omarosa manigault, it means my beautiful child desired. my father named me. >> you grew up in ohio. >> one of four. omarosa: the youngest. two boys, two girls. my father was killed when i was seven. up until seven, i was in a two -parent home, and of course,
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that was shattered by senseless violence. happened -- host: what happened? my father was killed by a man who committed the most horrible act you could, in terms of taking a father from his four children and wife. very difficult time for my family. host: what do you remember about him? omarosa: he was funny. he had a certain swagger. but he could be very intensely serious and focused. host: and your mother? omarosa: my mother is very gracious, kind, the life of the party. she has a light about her. and a very devout christian. she was on advocate for education. she was actually going to school, university, for early childhood education to be a teacher, when my father died. host: let me ask about a couple of your titles -- omarosa: titles. i'm an ordained baptist
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minister. i was an assistant pastor. i'm a military chaplain. i'm a professor. or, i was a professor until , january 20. the most important thing is a christian, because christ is the head of my life. host: how do you train for that? what is the schooling involved? omarosa: for being a pastor, or a minister, or a chaplain? which one of the titles? host: pick any one of them. omarosa: so, you have to go to seminary. i went to two. i started at united theological seminary. i transferred to another one for their doctorate of ministry program and then i was licensed at a baptist church, where i was ordained. host: so what is the secret for
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a successful sermon? how do you prepare for that? what goes into it? omarosa: first of all, it's important that you pray and you meditate and listen to what god is trying to say to you and what message he wants you to convey. you have to remove yourself from the process, because you are sharing the word. so my process starts with , prayer. and then you have to be driven by the word. one of my professors taught short sermons and how to exegete the text so you do not yourself into it. that is a process that really has carried me, when accepted my call. host: what does your faith mean to you? omarosa: my faith is my foundation, my compass, it guides every single thing i do in my life, through good times
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and bad times. my compass is centered on the word of god, and what god has asked us to do, being obedient to his instruction that is outlined in the word. host: through the loss of your father, through the low points, and other tragedies you have faced how do you go through , those moments? omarosa: i have to tell you, i would be nothing without god, i mean, i don't know many people who could survive the type of tragedies i have survived and the conditions i grew up in. the loss. the difficulties. and still have a sense of themselves, and still have their mind. i've only been able to do that because of my believed in christ, my belief in his word, and what he said, which is that he knows the plans for me, to me toose plans are for
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prosper and not to harm me. even as i go through these storms, i recognize i have to have joy, no matter what i'm going through. and that really comes from my faith. host: what was your most difficult storm? omarosa: my gosh, there were seven many storms and a major storm. it was like a storm that spurs six or seven different tornadoes. i mean there were so many , chapters in my life. i just look back on the last two years of my life, losing my sister who, she and i were just a year apart. losing my fiance, who had a heart attack and before that, my brother was shot and killed in the same town my father was murdered in. and so even though it has been a , difficult season, i have found i am equipped for everything that life throws my way. that god has prepared me and
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i've learned to work through the difficult times and to hold on to what i know, that joy comes in the morning. host: let me ask about another title, public liaison in the office of communication. what does that mean? what are your responsibilities? omarosa: as a communications director, it is important we are communicating the vision the president has for the community that we serve, for the constituents we serve. and that that message is clear , concise, and thorough. and that is what my job is. host: part of that involves bringing in black college presidents. you went to howard university. omarosa: i started at central state, in ohio, where i played volleyball. i was in the rotc there. and i was a part of black radio. i started at central state and a
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-- central state and then i went to howard for my masters and doctoral. host: what position in volleyball? omarosa: i was a setter. a quarterback. [laughter] i can't imagine, even though i am tall, i have incredible jumping ability, the setter really sets the pace of the game and the strategy for how to win. ,and that is why i love to that position. host: let me go back to the college presidents, in february, meeting with the president. at howard university, there was some graffiti was written. one of them, welcome to the trump plantation, the overseer. what was your reaction? omarosa: i was a rambunctious student at howard. i was part of the protests. i was part of the educations, that brought about the changes that we wanted from the administration.
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protests the students are leading important. ,our it is the only way to affect change. i was not surprised. i know the students well. not only am i a graduate of howard university, but i talked there served on the advisory , board for mba programs. so, i expect if students are leadership of the the university you will hear them, in a form of protest. in this case, they used graffiti. other times they will march. walkouts. that is the culture of howard university. we only raise leaders. we do not raise followers. host: what is your message to the african-american community? what is the president's message omarosa: in what regard? first of all, the african-american community is not a monolith. we have to be careful of saying
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there is a single message for african-americans. tell me specifically. host: in terms of outreach. when you are meeting with students, college leaders, business leaders, people who want to find out what the president means to them, race issues, jobs. again, my job is to communicate the vision that the president has. what the president would like to -- those who have been four promised things from the previous administration, who were sold hope and change and were unemployed after four years, they'd could not fill their gas tanks. they could not fill their prescriptions. the president wants to see these folks have the opportunity to live the american dream. african-americans are no different than all americans who , want to see their children in environments where they can learn, who want to see their families healthy and thriving and back to work, who want to see america first. the african-american community
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wants to make sure there is somebody in the oval office who is fighting for them and who is , not taking them for granted. host: is your hometown of youngstown emblematic of the challenges along that corridor? omarosa: as you know, the president was there often. he got to know where i grew up. he got to know about the effect of the steel mills closing down and we have not recovered from , that. about the promises that were made, and about the potential youngstown still offers. really good people in youngstown who want a chance to get back to work, to make their way in the world. they have to be given a chance. when you look at youngstown, there's a great deal of potential. theit has not been given opportunity to get back to work, to get back on their feet. and so, i am so happy the
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president has been working with corporations to bring those jobs back to this country, bring jobs back to places like youngstown , ohio, so that people can earn a good living and provide for their families. host: what do you remember about your community growing up in the 1970's and 1980's? omarosa: of course, this deal mills were still open so the community was thriving. and i remember the gm plant was 20 minutes from my house. and so many people were excited to start working there. and i remember a certain pride , that came with being from the buckeye state, from being from youngstown, that you could truly use your hands and your heart and work hard and make something of yourself. i remember the community and how important family and friends were. and i hope that once the community recovers, in terms of economically, that the spirit can recover as well.
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host: some other titles, ms. buckeye, ms. youngstown. [laughter] miss district of columbia. omarosa: ok, you got me. you got me. i'm a former beauty queen. i confess. that's what we do. get into beauty pageants, join the band. a very wholesome upbringing. but i had a teacher, a library in but she also taught speech. and i was tomboyish. she thought, you are a great athlete, but you are a little rough around the edges. so, she told me about the miss buckeye pageant, which was the first pageant i entered. thank god i did not win the first one, because i'm so competitive, i wanted to figure
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out, how do you win? being first runner-up was not enough for me. so, i entered the year and i won. thei would go on to be first african-american to be miss youngstown and represent , youngstown at the miss america pageant. pageants were great for me. they taught me incredible lessons. that people will judge you have by how you look at how you walk and how you talk, to be sharp on your feet fitness is important and be congenial. i learned a lot about those skills while i was competing. host: when did you first meet donald trump? omarosa: september, i believe the 13th, 2003. host: walk us through what happened. omarosa: like a quiz. [laughter] first of all, i remember it was after 9/11. i booked my train ticket to come up from washington, d.c.
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at the time i was living in washington. and i did not know what to expect. i just knew i had been selected on what they described as the most incredible job interview. a chance to run one of donald trump's companies, to be the ceo, the project manager. i was selected and excited. i remember getting off the train and the car taking us directly to trump tower. if you have ever been there, you look up at this skyscraper and you realize this is the tower that trump built. this is where we would live, sleep, play, for the next couple of months. when we walked into the i knew he wasver,
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a big personality. trump walks into the room you do not get the full impact of his presence. he walked into the room. it's donald trump. another title you had from people magazine, the most hated reality television celebrity. omarosa: was that the title? i thought i was a notorious reality tv villain. you are mixing up my titles. star, that is catfight. most rheumatic moment, most googled moment. i was in a field that was driven by ratings. you know what drives ratings? conflict. i will own up to all of them
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because ratings meant everything in that genre. once i got to the top of the genre, i wanted to stay. every show that i did i was not ,nly the clean of the boardroom i wasn't just the greatest villain but i dominated the whatn because i understood drove that business and what drives that business is ratings. no one wants to tune into a boring television show. host: do you apply that to this job and white house? omarosa: no. this is so much more different. on that show there were 16 contestants on a game show vying to win a job with donald trump. we took over southern these auction house -- we had to come up with something for jessica
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simpson. i am not selling lemonade in the white house. we have come a long way. in the last 14 years from that. but i am very grateful for that opportunity to have experienced show business and to learn the business through the eyes of donald trump. host: this is not your first time in the white house? smarosa: i started on gore' staff and i was promoted and got to work with bob nash and charlie duncan. incredible watching the political process at that time. i was so young. fresh into the ,ew experience but thank god
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that i had those previous appointments because it prepared me for the position i am in now. thatlped me to understand no one thing is greater than the incredible agenda that we have. and to stay focused on that. in oneen i got caught up issue, thinking that was it. this was the big one. now i understand, sometimes you go from crisis to crisis, policy to policy. you get up, dust yourself off and you get back in the ring and keep fighting. back, 16 years later in a different capacity, how different our things from the clinton-gore years to the pence white house? omarosa: night and day. there was impeachment, travel gate, every weekend the clinton white house there was
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something-gate. it was a very tense environment. we had a special prosecutor, ken starr, he was like the bogeyman back then. a formal request for this -- i spent more time in that white -- toresponding to former requests than doing anything else. i remember those. tryingo every document to find the thing that can star wanted that week. coming in now, i actually get to do my job. i get to change the course of this country, the direction we are going. so many americans throughout the campaign said we were not going in the right direction and i am so proud to put this country back on track. host: when did you decide you
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are going to support donald trump? initially you tweeted that hillary clinton was going to run in 2016. omarosa: there was no secret i was a diehard democrat. female african american from a working-class neighborhood, that is what you do. you are part of the democratic party. to go throughnued my life and accomplish so many different things i realized some of the promises that democrats were making, especially to my community. .ook at youngstown the promises that the party kept making over and over again to that community, the more they make promises the more you see the county i grew up and deteriorate. they make more promises and then this plant was shut down, this plant was shut down, this mill
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was shut down. the leadership from the party wasn't there. i held out hope. even barack obama, incredible campaign, hope was truly in the air. expectations were high. but i can't tell you that youngstown is better off eight years later than it was before he took office. in fact i can tell you, they are worse off. hillary decided to run again, i thought this is a no-brainer. they had difficulties with people who decided to support barack obama over hillary the first time. they never forgot. i was one of those people who chose to support barack obama over hillary clinton. declared, i hope
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that i can make an impact, the truth of the matter is, i was in democraticce in politics because of choices i made to go against the clinton camp. the obamas didn't want the clint onites. it was like, woman without a country. i started to vote my issues and vote independently and starting -- trying to see the party rebound. i was so happy when donald trump declared he was going to run. i was so incredibly happy just knowing him and what he has accomplished and what he would be able to bring to the white house. the moment he declared, and you can look at these interviews, you saw how very passionate i was that he was the right choice
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for america. host: at what point in the general election did you know he was going to win? -- i didn'tnew, not have to get that far. when he was going through the primaries and he had 17 primary candidates -- he knocked each one of them off. by the time we got to the general, regardless of the pollsters telling us, he was going to lose. that is not what we were feeling on the campaign trail. joined a woman's tour and we went county by county and what i , was nothing not even corresponding or correlating to what the data was saying. the data is saying he's down. the people were saying, he is
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our choice. the data was saying he was not connecting with women yet we were filling up auditoriums and stadiums. people were following our bus with signs and honking. neverere saying he would get the nomination. he got it. that he would never went. that he would not reach that threshold. he did it. pundits,ters and the it just did not match with what america was saying. i didn't have to look at the data. i didn't have to listen to what other people were saying. i saw firsthand. i opened up a rally for donald trump in ohio. amazing, walking out there in ohio addressing my fellow buckeyes. the energy in that room alone was enough for me to feel and to iow that that same spirit said i wanted to come back to youngstown, was in that room. forfolks that stood outside
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nine hours waiting to see donald j. trump. host: i want to conclude with some points. rare ticket, walk in privileges to the president of the united states. what does that mean. ? omarosa: that is part of my job. i don't know why everyone focuses on that. if you don't talk with the president how are you supposed vision andate his perspective? that comes with being a director of communications for this president. it is also dictated by him. he allows people to have access to him because he is so transparent, he has nothing to hide. he talks directly to the people utilizing all forms of media including twitter. he is accessible. that is why america likes this president and that is why they
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support him. host: is he different privately than what the public sees? omarosa: i wish people could see more of his wit and humor when he gets going and telling a joke and lets his guard down. it is incredible. i have had quite a few laughs with him during the campaign trail, we would get going about something. see the country get a glimpse of that. now that he is here, he is so focused. onis laser focused delivering the promises he made to the american people. , a different side of him, even though i have known him for 14 years, a different side of him that i hadn't seen before. it gives me so much confidence. we are assured that
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going to do exactly what he said we were going to do. we are going to win and i love it. host: based on that, if we were to sit here a year from now, how would you measure your success? omarosa: my success is directly president delivering on what we said we would do. i like to look at the projects i have worked on already on day 40, had an opportunity to work with a team of folks to get an executive order committing to advancing funding and historically black colleges and universities. i have had an opportunity to travel to haiti as part of a delegation. he made a commitment to haiti that he would be a champion for them, already on the ground for the inauguration of the president for haiti. we have made a commitment to farmers, to the military. just now i came from a listening
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session that was going on downstairs. every single thing he has said, i have a list. every thing he said he is going to do, i have a list. we are keeping our word. a year from now, that long list of commitments we have made, making sure not to just check them off but that they are helping americans. and that is allowing americans to be safe. allowing americans to be first. and truly making america great again. host: and yet, there is still resistance in this country. we are a divided nation. you are at tysons corner a month facedying address and angry voters. what about those who dislike the president? omarosa: i think that mental illness is real. people i encountered out there probably had some challenges.
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like i said, i am not new to this. i understand there will be opposition and you should expect that. you have to also know that donald trump is tough. i'm tough. we are going to continue to fight for this country. host: are you enjoying your job? omarosa: i love what i do. i have the best job in the white house. i really do. host: finally, what would your dad think? omarosa: he would be incredibly proud of me. i think i have exceeded all expectations for a little girl who grew up in westlake projects in abject poverty with a single mother, limited resources, and limited opportunities. throughfound a way faith in god, a supported mother , and an incredible determination to be the best om
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arosa i could be. i find myself sitting here at the center of the political to impactnd helping change in ways that can't be measured. host: thank you for your time. omarosa: thank you. president trump is in houston visiting with people impacted by hurricane harvey. a short time ago he greeted people in the convention center. [inaudible]


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